ornaments of our language,'—who are the elect? We have in great force the names just enumerated, and among older poets then read and honoured, to the exclusion of Chaucer and the Elizabethans, so imposing a muster-roll as—Parnell, Mallett, Blacklock, Addison, Gay; and, ascending to the highest heaven of the century's Walhalla, Goldsmith, Thomson, Gray, Pope; with a little of Milton and Shakspere thrown in as make-weight.
Where, beyond the confines of his own most individual mind, did the hosier's son find his model for that lovely web of rainbow fancy already quoted? I know of none in English literature. For the Song commencing
(see Vol. II.), with its shy evanescent tints and aroma as of pressed rose-leaves, parallels may be found among the lyrics of the Elizabethan age, an alien though it be in its own. The influence of contemporary models, unless it be sometimes Collins or Thomson, is nowhere in the volume discernible; but involuntary emulation of higher ones partially known to him, there is;—of the Reliques given to the world by Percy in 1760; of Shakspere, Spenser, and other Elizabethans. For the youth's choice of masters was as unfashionable in Poetry as in Design. Among the few students or readers in that day of Shakspere's Venus and Adonis, Tarquin and Lucrece, and Sonnets, of Ben Jonson's Underwoods and Miscellanies, the boy Blake was, according to Malkin, an assiduous one. The form of such a poem as
is inartificial and negligent; but incloses the like intangible spirit of delicate fancy; a lovely blush of life as it were, suffusing the enigmatic form. Even schoolboy blunders against grammar, and schoolboy complexities of expression, fail to break the musical echo, or mar the naive sweetness of the two concluding stanzas; which, in practised hands, might